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Guide to Buying Dinnerware

The right dinnerware will see you through every type of meal, from a quick snack in front of the sofa to decadent dinner parties. The right dinnerware isn’t just about the pretty design. You’ll want pieces that are durable, made from a suitable material and that fit well into your home and lifestyle. Whether you have your eye on a rustic stoneware bowl or an extravagant bone china platter, here’s our guide to buying dinnerware.  

Material

The material your dinnerware is made from will affect its price and durability.

Stoneware

Stoneware pieces are made from refined clay, often mixed with stone. It’s only fired once, giving it a darker look, often with a range of colours. Stoneware offers a casual, rustic look to your dinnerware, but can be glazed to give it the whiter appearance of porcelain and china. It’s relatively inexpensive to buy and has a rougher, more porous texture than other dinnerware.

Porcelain

Porcelain uses fine clay, usually kaolin clay, that is fired at a high temperature to achieve a smooth, glass like finish. Porcelain is much more lightweight than stoneware, and has a finer, whiter appearance. It is glazed and often comes in a variety of designs. Despite being finer than stoneware, it’s more resistant to chipping and is very durable.

Fine Bone China

Bone china is a mix of fine kaolin clay with bone ash, and often feldspar. Due to it’s production, it’s extremely durable with a very white, almost translucent finish. Due to its price, fine bone china is often used as formal dinnerware, and is commonly decorated with elegant designs.

Dinnerware Pieces

Below is a list of some dinnerware essentials that will fill your basic household needs:

Dinner plates
Starter/ Salad plates
Side plates
Soup bowls

Here is a list of extra items that come in handy for larger dinners with more people:

Large serving plates
Large serving bowls
Shallow pasta bowls

You’ll need to consider whether you want to buy your dinnerware as a full set or as single, open stock items. Sets make it easy to buy everything you need in one go, and can work out more cost effective, but it can be harder to replace single items if they chip or break. We think it’s a good idea to buy single items for the dinnerware you use regularly, and invest in a special set for more special occasions.  

Caring for your Dinnerware

Most of your dinnerware will be dishwasher and microwave safe (unless it has metallic edging of course. In which case, keep it well away from the microwave!)  You’ll want to make sure your dinnerware stacks safely without toppling over, as well as ensuring your cupboards are wide and deep enough to accommodate the largest of your plates.

Inspiration for your home